Hay growers expect to harvest 63.1 million acres of all hay in 2007, up 4% from that harvested last year, according to the 2007 planting intentions report by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. More than 60.8 million acres of all hay were harvested in 2006.

Corn plantings, for all purposes, should increase by 15% this year over last for a total of 90.5 million acres. This would be the largest acreage grown since World War II, when 95.5 million acres were planted for all purposes. “The increase in intended corn acres is partially offset by lower expected acres of soybeans in the Corn Belt and Great Plains and fewer expected acres of cotton and rice in the Delta and Southeast,” according to the report.

Harvested hay acres, meanwhile, are expected to increase from last year throughout the Great Plains and Southeast. Because last year’s drought reduced production and hay supplies, harvested area is expected to increase by more than 100,000 acres throughout the Great Plains and in Alabama, Missouri and Minnesota. South Dakota expects the largest increase, up 700,000 acres from those harvested in 2006. The Pacific Coast, Tennessee Valley, the Northeast and much of the Corn Belt expect fewer harvested hay acres or that those acres will remain unchanged from 2006. Iowa will likely cut 100,000 acres from its last year’s total. California expects to harvest 50,000 fewer acres.